Editor’s Note: “The Economic Development Side” originally appears in the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce’s weekly member e-newsletter. It is written by Rhonda Dishner, the Economic Development Alliance’s executive assistant.


A recent column in this space detailed things that didn’t happen during a relatively slow economic development week at the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County. Of course, the “didn’t happens” were listed as a simple literary device to suggest that, in other weeks, they did — and do — happen.


Take last week, for example. Two staff members did attend an out-of-town conference. One staffer did receive an award. A staffer made an important presentation to a state commission. And arrangements were finalized for attendance at upcoming conferences, which provide required professional development credits, as well as at scheduled site-selector events that offer direct contact with top location consultants. Other than that, it was business as usual in the “dizzying” manner also described in the aforementioned column.


To begin last workweek, Alliance President Lou Ann Nisbett and Caleb McMahon, the Alliance’s director of economic development, represented the Alliance and the community at the AEDCE Annual Conference held Aug. 26-28 at Fayetteville.


AEDCE stands for Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives. As its name indicates, this association is made up of professional and volunteer economic developers and chamber of commerce executives in Arkansas. It was formed by the 2016 merger of separate entities formerly serving those two professional groups.


In addition to information sessions and updates on trending economic development drivers, the annual event provides plenty of networking time for colleagues whose jobs are focused on advancing economic growth in Arkansas and their respective communities.


Sponsor lists for the conference and its agenda events featured a who’s who of the state’s chambers of commerce, utility companies and economic development organizations, including the Alliance, which was listed in the printed program as a “Gold” sponsor of the conference.


Another noteworthy item in the program was Nisbett’s name on a listing of 16 individuals in the state with Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) credentials. And on the facing page was a list of the 17 AEDCE members with Professional Community & Economic Developer (PCED) certification, including Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Lee McNew.


Coincidentally, while Alliance staffer McMahon was at the AEDCE conference, he received notification of his selection as one of two scholarship recipients for the University of Oklahoma (OU) Extended Campus/Economic Development Institute to be held in New Orleans in early November. The scholarship award is for the full OU/EDI registration fee and includes some CEcD prep courses. McMahon has been taking required course work for well over a year in preparation for taking the challenging Certified Economic Developer exam. His test-taking time is scheduled for January for this internationally recognized certification.


Here’s wondering what this week has in store.